I bring this brief pause from the travelogue... I still want to share more about Morocco & then there's still the Netherlands but my morning has taken my thoughts elsewhere. Besides, I have a scrumptious picture of a Moroccan meal which, of course, I left on my memory stick at home today and it has disrupted my plans for the next post. So after this message we will be back to our scheduled programing.
And now - a brief moment of crankiness (not over anything life shattering or even life altering but a little mundane morning thing). It's pouring down snow out today. That means although its mostly frozen it lands as wetness on humans and slush on the streets, big fat flakes the size of mice and just at the freezing point. It's cold and gray and makes you wish for nothing other then to curl up in front of a warm fire with a hot beverage and dream of that hot weather in Morocco. On my way to work this morning, as usual, I was bicycling, I blew a tire. Blew it all over the place in the middle of the road.
I heard a funny noise and then felt a lurch. Naturally I stopped to see what the trouble was but I encountered difficulty as a) wasn't exactly light enough out to see b) my glasses were so covered with rain that I couldn't see through them and c) when I took my glasses off I couldn't really see either. What I could see was a smear of green goop which usually coats the inside of the tire tube, and I could see that my actual tire was no longer on the wheel rim. So, I attempted to take said wheel off the bike so I could at least get the tire & the donut tube off as they were currently caught up in the braking system making even pushing the bicycle a no go. So here I am kneeling in a puddle of slush with water streaming down my face in rivulets trying to get the lever to move but it won't because it's frozen solid. I'm off to plan B which is to use the bungee cords I have on my bike to attempt to secure the said tire & tube out of the way of the brakes and the rim so that I might be able to push it the rest of the way to work. I am successful in this and begin to push. Let me say that pushing a bicycle in half a foot of slush is a lot harder then pedaling through it.
It feels like a loooonnng way to work and I keep hoping that some co-worker will drive by and take pity on me but of course, I take the scenic route which my co-workers, in their rush to work, probably avoid. Finally I get to the location of the covered bike rack at work. I take off my dripping wool hat and my glasses and wipe the water from my face. Then I get back to work on the lever. I grunt, I make loud noises, you know, the kinds of noises you do to put a little extra umph behind your arms. I notice a few co-workers scurrying past, I'm sure they're all terrified to come too close and after all, they just want to hop from their nice dry cars to their nice dry offices and avoid any lunatics in the parking lot. I do succeed in getting the lever to move finally and remove the rear wheel. I park the bike in the rack and next to it the tire and the rear wheel frame and lock it all together, the tube I take with me and then, with my glasses still clenched between my teeth I make my way to the door. My colleagues comment, as I walk determinedly to my cubicle that I look a little wet, a little like a drowned rat.
On dropping my sopping wet outer gear and wishing I had a towel for my hair which is wetter then if I had taken 10 showers this morning I inspect the tube. It has been a spectacular blow out and will not be repairable (and of course, the nearest open bike shop is in Los Anchorage). My male colleagues all gather round to look at the tire and make comments, they laugh at my story, they make useful suggestions as to who might have an extra tire lying around of that size, they suggest that I am utterly crazy for biking in this weather (except for one co-worker who actually passed me on his bike who comments "You didn't look like you were in trouble or I would have stopped"). It is the female colleagues who, after the male colleagues are done laughing and review the events, quietly offer me & my beleaguered bike a ride home in the evening.